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Crosby: Steelers' Clark taking chance

| Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has spent much of his time during the NHL lockout watching NFL games, specifically when the Steelers are playing.

He will be watching Sunday night's game against Baltimore with a cautious eye as free safety Ryan Clark has been cleared to play despite absorbing two concussions in the past three weeks.

Few athletes are sensitive to concussions like Crosby, who has missed 101 games in the past two years because of concussion symptoms.

“He's taking a chance,” Crosby said. “There are a lot of things that can happen.”

Clark was cleared to play Friday and seemed miffed that so many are questioning his decision to play. Crosby believes the pressure of a 16-game schedule is typically why football players are quicker to return from concussions than hockey players.

“The fact that there's only 16 games doesn't help,” Crosby said. “You miss one game in 16, that's (essentially) a playoff game that you're missing. There's a lot of pressure on you when you're making that decision. If a guy feels like he can get through it, and he's willing to take the chance, then by all means … but first of all, you've got your health, And then, can you even perform? Those are decisions you have to make.”

Crosby wouldn't be surprised if Clark alters his historically tenacious, head-first hitting style against Baltimore.

“He might be different with the way he tackles,” Crosby said. “Is he going to lead with his head? Probably not.”

Crosby knows about the self-imposed pressure of playing in big games but was forced to miss the 2011 playoff series against Tampa Bay.

“Some guys just get headaches,” he said. “Other guys, it's their memory. For me, even if I wanted to play (against Tampa Bay), I couldn't have because I was so messed up.”

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